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Zim scouts vanish from UK jamboree

Zim Standard


THREE Zimbabweans taking part in the recent World Scout Jamboree in
Chelmsford, England, did not return home with the rest of the group last

They are believed to have remained behind. The Boy Scouts Association
of Zimbabwe was not officially informed of plans by two of the participants
to remain in England after the jamboree.

The association was scheduled to meet yesterday to review its
participation at the jamboree and the disappearance of the two, a girl and a
boy, both aged about 17.

The third was identified as Humphrey Dube from Kwekwe, a scout leader.

Deputy Scout Commissioner Mostaff Matesanwa, who travelled with the
group, said Dube had asked for permission to remain behind after the

The cases are said to demonstrate the desperation of Zimbabweans of
all ages to escape the hardships back home.

Matesanwa would not say when Dube was expected back. But he said all
three had visas valid until the end of the year.

He said: "We contacted the relatives here and they confirmed they have
relations in the UK."

The rest of the Zimbabwean contingent returned on 17 August but the
17-year-old girl disappeared on 29 July.

"For the girl," said Matesanwa, "we did not see any relative. But
others say she had a phone. She asked to be excused from morning activities
because she was not feeling well. The leader escorted her back to the

"After a while she said she was going to the toilet. Then she
disappeared. Afternoon came and went. By dinner time she was still missing.
We made a report to the police."

Matesanwa said the person they least suspected to disappear was the
girl. In July/August 2006 she had been selected to go on a sponsored trip to
Japan for a jamboree.

Later, she was supported by her parents to attend a Rover Moot in
Mafeking, South Africa.

"But because she was due to write her 'O' Level examinations, we did
not suspect anything," he said. "We had their travel documents for
safe-keeping, so they disappeared without their papers."

Matesanwa said a relative had visited the boy at the campsite, before
the Form VI student disappeared. It is thought the relative waited for the
boy after the visit.

The three were among 13 scouts from different countries who went
missing at the World Scouts Jamboree at Hylands Park.

Reports said four scouts vanished from the site, while nine are
believed not to have turned up at all.

The first scout reported missing was the 17-year-old Zimbabwean, on
July 29. Next was a boy aged 15, from an unnamed country, a boy, 17, from
Sri Lanka, and a boy, 15, from Nigeria.

A group of five males, aged between 12 and 24, from Bangladesh, did
turn up at the jamboree.

It was not clear whether a group of two boys and two girls, aged
between 16 and 17, from Uganda, made it to Hylands Park.

A police spokesperson in Essex said they were not treating the
disappearances as suspicious, as all missing scouts were in the UK legally
with six-month tourist visas.

"Essex Police are actively trying to locate those who are missing,"
she said, "including trying to make contact with any known family members or
associates here in Britain.

"None of the youngsters have committed an offence," she said.

Simon Carter, a spokesperson for the scouts, said the jamboree was
still a massive success, despite the missing people.

"While we are concerned," he said, "it's not something that puts a
damper on all the other good activities.

"There are around 40,000 people who have had a fantastic time; if you
take four people out of that it puts it into perspective."

Carter said the nine who never showed up were the responsibility of
individual scout contingents, who organised travel between home countries
and Hylands Park.

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Moment of maximum danger

Zim Standard

  By Davison Maruziva

SOMEONE isn't listening to advice and Zimbabwe's moment of maximum
danger could arise because it is too busy not listening, The Standard can

Two months ago a group of economists from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
advised on the need to approach the price stabilisation drive with "extreme
levels of caution".

Yet the Minister of Industry and International Trade, as recently as
last week, said the government had no apologies to make for the recent
controversial price blitz which has left many businesses tottering on the
brink of collapse.

On 23 June the government ordered manufacturers and retailers to slash
their prices by 50% - to pre-18 June levels.

The fiat, met with stiff resistance from within the hierarchy of the
ruling party, has spawned a severe and unprecedented nation-wide shortage of
basic commodities.

Concern by the group of economists, according to documents seen by The
Standard, was the need "to avoid inadvertently causing hardships to the
vulnerable groups" in society.

The concern also appears to have been guided by a desire to avoid
attracting "needless vilification" from friends in the region and elsewhere
in the world.

With the government refusing to confront reality, shops were last week
beginning to exhibit the full aberration of the price blitz - rows of empty
shelves, while the more creative shop owners were shrinking their original
floor space, creating an illusion of a shop full of goods, even if this
really consisted of maputi, bits of onions and a sprinkling of imported

But these are not exactly basics - bread, sugar, cooking oil, maize
meal, salt and milk - every household requires on a daily basis.

Reserve Bank economists in the documents seen by The Standard
cautioned against price monitoring, arguing it was highly demanding in terms
of resources (financial and human), which would impose a further strain on
the fiscus.

"Where the stipulated prices fall short of genuine, justifiable
production costs," said the economists, "the result is that producers of the
same goods and services will fail to continue producing, which inevitably
breeds immediate shortages on the market.

"A look at the shop shelves currently confirms the reality of this

The group warned prophetically two months ago: "Closure of shops and
unavailability of basic essentials risks infuriating the very same members
of the public government has always sought to cushion from rampant price

Gideon Gono, the central bank governor had previously spoken of the
need to avoid what he termed "unintended consequences" of the action the
government had taken and which would leave the country in a worse-off
position. This is in apparent reference to remarks by former US Ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, who prophesied the collapse of President
Robert Mugabe's government by year-end.

Gono refused to discuss the report last week when contacted for
comment. "The report you are referring to is unofficial," he said before
ending the discussion.

The economists warned the government to "avoid the trap of temporary
victory and instant gratification that backfire with consuming return-fire"
from the business community, consumers and some politicians alike.

The report also warns of the need to avoid populist actions.

It is therefore unsurprising that even politicians on the government
side are reportedly unsettled by the impact and effects of the price blitz
and the resultant shortages.

Already the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is cash-strapped because the
blitz has had "unintended consequences" on its revenue collection from the
business sector, while consumers fume that they are wasting time queuing for
basic commodities they fail to procure at the end of the day.

"It is critical that urgent steps be taken to once and for all deal
with supply side imperatives without which the Number One Enemy, inflation,
will continue to rear its ugly head," say the economists.

Drawing parallels with the US invasion of Iraq, where it charges
Washington had no clear exit strategy, the documents call for identification
of an exit point from the current price blitz.

"Alongside the exit strategy," they say, "there is also a mechanism
that needs to be put in place to monitor the monitors. This is particularly
so against reported cases of corruption, engineered looting and general
waywardness on the part of some stakeholders."

Then the real telling point: "We have reached a moment of our maximum
danger and supreme economic decisions have to be taken; certain national
sacrifices made and personal comfort zones must be confronted head-on today,
not tomorrow without fear or favour."

Is anyone in the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring listening to
advice on an urgent pricing matrix that takes into account reasonable
provisions for production costs in the entire chain? Only time will tell.

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Dairy industry faces collapse

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - Milk worth millions of dollars is lost every day at dairy
farms across the country as farmers fail to transport it to processors due
to severe fuel shortages triggered by the government's controversial price

Farmers attending a joint crisis meeting of the National Dairy Farmers
Association and Cattle Producers Association here on Friday, said they
feared they might soon be forced out of business.

Milk products, like other basic commodities have virtually disappeared
from shops in the aftermath of the government edict forcing business to
revert to pre-June 18 prices.

But NADF says precious milk was going bad before it could reach the

The National Dairy Co-operative (NDC), which collects the milk from
farmers, has reportedly grounded most of its fleet because of the worsening
fuel crisis.

"The milk is not getting to the processors in urban centres," Ezra
Ndlovu, the NADF regional chairman told the meeting, "and we are beginning
to see the effects of that with the ongoing shortages

"At my farm, I had to throw away 900 litres of milk recently because
it went bad before it could be collected.

"Most of you would be shocked when you collect your cheques from the
NDC because there won't be any money since your milk got bad before it
reached the processor."

Ndlovu said normally milk could stay at the farms for two days before
collection by processors, but after the introduction of the price controls
it stayed for as many as five days.

He appealed to the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to
intervene immediately if the already ailing dairy industry was to survive
the crisis.

The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM), recently handed the
sole responsibility to source and distribute fuel, could not comment

Meanwhile the NADF said milk production had declined from 6,1 million
litres in August last year to 5, 2 million last month as the dairy industry
continued its steady decline.

Ndlovu blamed the decline on the "perpetual price controls" imposed on
dairy products. He said the controls had led to farmers failing to buy
proper stock feed and vaccines for their herds.

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40 000 hit by Pomona fire

Zim Standard


THE city council has failed to put out a fire burning out of control
for more than two weeks at Pomona dumping site.

Residents have complained of the council's lack of action, with some
reporting asthmatic relatives had ended up in hospital after inhaling the
acrid fumes from the fire.

Trudy Stevenson the pro-Senate Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Member of Parliament for Harare North told The Standard the fire had
affected more than 40 000 of her constituents.

"The fire started two weeks ago and it's getting worse," she said
yesterday. "We talked to the city council but they could not do anything.
Now, it is polluting the whole area because there is smoke everywhere and
asthmatic people are the ones affected most."

Stevenson appealed for urgent action to extinguish the fire since
residents in nearby Borrowdale, Hatcliffe, Vainona and Mt Pleasant suburbs
were the most affected.

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Boarding school closes as food crisis worsens

Zim Standard


ONE school has closed down its boarding facilities while several
others have scaled down food rations as the food crisis in the country bites
deeper and deeper, a Standard investigation established last week

Several boarding schools have asked parents to provide supplementary
food to avoid mass starvation among students at schools which opened last

A snap survey painted a bleak picture of student life in boarding
schools short of food. School authorities feared students might starve this
term due to the current food crisis triggered by the June price slash
ordered by the government.

Several schools in Manicaland, Masvingo, the Midlands, Bulawayo,
Harare and Matabeleland North and South have told students to bring rice,
sugar, salt, maize-meal and corn flakes, all no longer available in

In Bulawayo, the food crisis, coupled with the shortage of water, has
made learning almost impossible at most schools amid warnings that the
situation might deteriorate if the government does not intervene.

EATEC College in Bulawayo has closed its boarding facilities, citing
the shortage of food. Students have been asked to find alternative

In Hwedza, Chemhanza High School has sent an SOS to parents to provide
supplementary food.

In a letter to parents, the headmaster, T Chitongo said they had cut
the amount of food they give to students daily.

The school asked parents to provide 2kg packet of rice, 2 litres of
cooking oil, 1kg of table salt, 500 grammes of soya mince and 2kg of plain

Students in many schools complained their rations had been reduced

"The school is providing us with food, but it is not enough because in
the morning we do not receive our porridge and also at break-time we do not
get any bread," said a pupil at Milton High School in Bulawayo.

The Matabeleland North regional education director, Dan Moyo, said
arrangements were made with the Grain Marketing Board and the Cold Storage
Company to provide meat and maize-meal to the schools.

Debating on the issue at a full council meeting last week Alderman
Charles Mpofu said in Bulawayo, the crisis has been aggravated by the water

In the Midlands, Rutendo Mawere, reports that the food situation was
critical as some schools had scaled down the amount of food they give to

An elite school in the province, Guinea Fowl, is now giving students
black tea with porridge in the morning, instead of tea with bread.

The situation is almost the same at Fletcher High School where
students complained they were not getting enough food.

At Tongogara High School in Shurugwi, students said they have had beef
once since the schools opened last week.

"It's sadza and cabbages almost every day. We are not having a
balanced diet," complained a pupil.

Association of Trust Schools (ATS) chairman Jameson Timba described
the food situation as "precarious" in most private schools. He said most
schools had appealed to parents' bodies to assist them secure food supplies.

But the Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere,
has pledged that no pupil would starve. He claimed that the GMB has started
supplying maize-meal to boarding schools to avert the crisis.

But GMB is already failing to provide maize-meal to needy households

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MDC factions scramble for partners ahead of poll

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - The two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) are scrambling for coalition partners ahead of the harmonised
parliamentary and presidential elections next year.

Both have approached different parties and civic groups after the
collapse of their unity talks.

This followed an announcement by the pro-Senate faction that it would
no longer pursue negotiations for a coalition pact with the anti-Senate

Its leader, Arthur Mutambara, announced his faction would go into the
elections alone.

Until then, the two groups were seeking a coalition under the auspices
of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC).

This group had brought together political parties and civic groups
fighting for political reform.

Since then, there has been a flurry of activity in both camps to lure
uncommitted groups to back them.

The pro-Senate group recently organised two meetings, one at the
Bulawayo house of its vice-president, Gibson Sibanda, and another at a
restaurant along Plumtree Road, where talks were held on a possible
coalition with Zapu Federal Party (Zapu FP) and the Patriotic Union of
Matabeleland (PUMA).

But Zapu FP is already negotiating an alliance pact with the Morgan
Tsvangirai group, with negotiations said to be at an advanced stage. Paul
Siwela, the Zapu FP leader who contested the 2002 presidential elections
confirmed the developments.

"We are pursuing an alliance that will see us retain our separate
identities but fight the elections together," he said. But Siwela declined
to provide details, saying it might jeopardise the talks.

Nelson Chamisa, the anti-Senate spokesperson said he would not comment
"on the specifics" but said "we are actively pursuing a unity of purpose and
direction with a view of amplifying our momentum against the status quo and
the Zanu PF regime".

He said his group believed the differences between political groups
were "superficial" and would not stand in the way of the formation of a
united front against President Robert Mugabe.

For the Mutambara group, Gabriel Chaibva said the collapse of the
factions' unity talks had "to do with one entity (the Tsvangirai faction)"
and insisted negotiations with other "progressive democratic forces" were in

"But we have said we are organising for elections on our own and any
agreements with other groups will be welcome as we go along," Chaibva said.

If Parliament approves the proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 18,
as anticipated, the harmonised local government, parliamentary and
presidential elections would be held early next year.

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ZOU miffs students over exam results

Zim Standard

By Leslie Nunu

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) is failing to release
examination results on time, raising questions about the integrity of its
examination system, The Standard established last week.

There have been persistent questions about the quality of graduates
from ZOU - a government-funded long-distance university - due to perennial
under-funding and an acute shortage of qualified teaching staff.

A number of students told The Standard, last week most of them had not
received their results for the previous semester yet they were supposed to
be registering for new programmes this month.

The students have to pass a certain number of subjects before they are
allowed to proceed to the next stage.

Graduating classes are said to be the most affected by the
unavailability of results, as there is uncertainty over whether they will be
conferred with degrees.

The problem has been blamed on a faulty electronic mail system, which
the university uses to dispatch the results.

"The situation is very bad because I have not received my results from
last semester," said a student who requested anonymity. "And I do not know
if I passed or not."

The students accused the university authorities of turning a blind eye
to their problems, which they say have persisted for a very long time.

"I have been going to the ZOU offices for the past couple of months to
see if my results have been released," said another student, "but I am
always told to come back later as they have not been released."

Elizabeth Karonga-Mamire, ZOU's director of information and public
relations, confirmed that some students were not receiving their results but
claimed that the problem had been blown out of proportion.

She said 90% of the students receive their results through a manual

"Some of the affected students did not complete the registration
process properly," she said, "leading to the electronic system rejecting
them as registered students on our database.

"Others pay their fees directly to our bank but they do not bring
their deposit slips for confirmation and reconciliation - so they cannot get
their results."

But Karonga-Mamire admitted ZOU had problems with its electronic
system, which has frequent breakdowns. She advised students who could not
access their results to contact ZOU regional offices for assistance.

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NRZ workers on go-slow

Zim Standard

  By Leslie Nunu

BULAWAYO - National Railways of Zimbabwe workers have been on a
go-slow for nearly two weeks after wage negotiations were suspended because
of the government's controversial price blitz.

The Railway Artisans Union, Railway Associated Union and the Railway
Association of Enginemen are demanding a 600% pay rise across the board.

But according to a confidential circular to the unions, signed by the
NRZ general manager, Mike Karakadzai, and seen by The Standard, negotiations
were suspended following the government directive to freeze tariff

The dispute was referred to an arbitrator on 2 August after the
negotiations were deadlocked as management insisted on a pay rise of only

Last month the parastatal went back to the workers with two offers for
an increment while waiting for the arbitration process to be concluded, but
both were rejected.

Under the latest wage review, which has since been imposed on the
unions, the NRZ will award its workers an increment staggered over three
months and backdated to July.

The lowest-paid worker will receive $5.5 million a month by the end of
September, up from $1.4 million in July.

"Management proposed a postponement of negotiations in view of the
absence of economic data, such as month-on-month inflation and the Poverty
Datum Line for June and July, which is traditionally considered during wage
review negotiations," said Karakadzai.

He said the parastatal also wanted to make a presentation to
government "on the possibility of obtaining authority "to revise both
freight and passenger tariffs to levels commensurate with NRZ's operating

"It is common cause that in addition to traffic volumes, tariffs are a
critical factor in determining the extent of the organisation's income
levels, which in turn influence the level of employee wages," he said.

Describing the increments as a joke, the workers have vowed to
continue with their go-slow, threatening to embark on a full scale strike if
their demands are not met.

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Zanu PF hijacks food distribution

Zim Standard


ZANU PF has seized the distribution of food aid at Hopley Farm from a
non-partisan committee chosen by the residents, ahead of the 2008 elections.

Residents fear this is a desperate bid to use food as a bait for votes
in next year's harmonised elections, The Standard was told last week.

Already, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters at the
sprawling settlement say they are being denied food handouts by the new

This committee was alleged to have been imposed on the community by a
Zanu PF official, a Mr Mutero, reportedly on the instructions of Harare
South legislator Hubert Nyanhongo.

He is also the deputy Minister of Transport and Communications.

Nyanhongo said he would not respond to queries raised over the phone.

"Where did you get my phone number?" he asked. "Who gave you that
information? You come to my office next week. I can't respond on the phone."

Then he switched off his mobile phone.

One MDC supporter said the names of suspected MDC supporters had been
removed from the list of beneficiaries.

"The committee always claims the food was donated by Zanu PF and would
benefit supporters of the ruling party only," said the opposition supporter,
identifying himself onlyt as Mlambo. "I fear our children will soon suffer
from malnutrition."

Mlambo, a resident of Zone 5, said they raised the issue with the food
aid agencies two months ago but nothing had changed.

Another resident, formerly from the demolished Porta Farm near Norton,
said: "They have removed our names from the list, saying we are not supposed
to get food because we are not originally from Harare South."

Most of the families at Hopley were victims of Operation Murambatsvina
and have no source of income.

They depend largely on donations from international charitable

Efforts by some officials at the settlement - who cannot be named for
fear of victimization -- to rectify the situation, were dampened when
Nyanhongo allegedly accused them of being MDC activists.

"Once you are accused of being MDC, it becomes difficult to work with
these people. But the fact is Nyanhongo is fighting for re-election and
wants to use food for his re-election," said one official.

Hopley Farm social welfare officer, Ezekiel Mpande, confirmed there
were problems with food distribution at the settlement.

"I had a meeting with officials from the Christian Care recently on
the issue. The World Food Programme also knows about it. They are feeling
bad about the situation but it appears they cannot do anything," he said.

Mpande said he would not allow the politicisation of food at the
settlement to continue because he was a "government employee and not a
political activist".

Efforts to get a comment from WPF director in Zimbabwe Kevin Farrell
were unsuccessful while Christian Care country director Forbes Matonga
referred questions to a Mrs Simango who could not be reached for comment.

The majority of the people living at Hopley Farm are victims of
Operation Murambatsina. The May 2005 operation resulted in thousands being
evicted from their properties which were destroyed.

The operation, carried out in winter and against a backdrop of severe
food shortages, targeted poor urban and peri-urban areas countrywide.

The United Nations estimated that in nearly six weeks 700 000 people
lost their homes and livelihoods.

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Farmers forced to flee to SA

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - Margaret Joubert who was recently granted a High Court
order to return to her farm which was invaded by the police officers in
Matabeleland North, has been forced to flee the country after threats to her

The police defied two High Court rulings to vacate Portwe Estates in
Bubi district which they occupied earlier this year.

In the latest case, on 16 August Justice Nicholas Ndou ordered the
police to vacate the farm and return the property they seized from Joubert
when they forced her off the farm at gunpoint in July.

After the eviction, the farmer went to stay with her uncle, Brian
Dolphin in Banket, Mashonaland West while awaiting the outcome of the court

But Dolphin told The Standard last week that Joubert was forced to
seek refuge in South Africa because of "threats to her life and harassment".

"She left a fortnight ago since she had nowhere to stay after all that
she had worked for was forcibly taken by the police," said Dolphin. "They
continued to threaten her with arrest."

Ndou had ordered the officers to return her two vehicles, computers
and elephant tusks seized during the evictions. They were also ordered to
return several hunting rifles confiscated during earlier raids.

Joubert's husband, Dave, was forced to flee to South Africa at the
height of the land invasions after he was brutally attacked by war veterans.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi refused to comment on the open
defiance of court rulings by police officers, saying: "I am busy and can't

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Drug resistant TB plagues Zimbabwe

Zim Standard

  By Our Correspondents

AMONG African nations, Zimbabwe is one of the most heavily affected by
tuberculosis (TB).

The deadly combination of TB and HIV epidemics is igniting a silent
and uncontrollable epidemic of drug-resistant TB that will negate previous
national health gains, says a report prepared for Partners Zimbabwe .

This is an information, dialogue and advocacy platform about HIV, Aids
and TB in Zimbabwe.

The 2007 Global Tuberculosis Control Report from the World Health
Organisation ranks Zimbabwe among 22 countries worldwide with the highest TB

While little is currently known about the extent of multi-drug
resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases, conditions prevailing in the country point to
the high probability of a significant drug resistance problem, says the
Drug resistance arises when TB treatment and other services do not
work as intended.

Numerous other critical factors can hamper TB control efforts: rampant
poverty, a crumbling health system, a lack of appropriate laboratory and
diagnostic capacities, the movement of people including the brain drain of
health workers, and
limited TB funding.

The lack of access to TB information, care and drugs, especially among
poor communities, and an extensive HIV epidemic, have further driven a
resurgence of the disease.

For the past 20 years, Zimbabwe has fought TB fairly successfully,
providing free access to WHO-recommended treatments. But in the past few
years, the disease has re-emerged as a leading killer, especially among HIV
positive people, who are often not identified through long-established
TB tests.

An estimated two-thirds of Zimbabweans with TB are also infected with
HIV. As a result, Zimbabwe has a staggering six times more TB cases than it
did 20 years ago. According to statistics, the success rate of directly
observed treatment is just 54%.

Alongside the current TB emergency, Zimbabwe is also suffering its
worst-ever economic crisis, with an estimated 80% of the population living
below the poverty line.

Malnutrition, poor sanitation and overcrowding are also helping to
spread TB. TB patients often fail to complete their treatment because they
cannot afford
the transport costs to and from health centres. The lack of access to
health services in remote or rural parts of the country adds to the
likelihood that large numbers of TB infections are going undetected and
untreated. The
ongoing brain drain of qualified front-line health care workers from
Zimbabwe has also not helped.

To make matters worse, the government-led national land reform
programme has seen many people resettling in areas with little access to
medical care in the past seven years, which has disrupted TB care records
and patient monitoring efforts.

Hardship and acute need is driving many people to seek opportunities
in neighbouring countries. Outward migration, including informally into
other southern African nations, makes it impossible to effectively monitor
TB incidence and prevalence.

The recent outbreak of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) in South
Africa poses a direct threat to the situation in Zimbabwe. South Africa is
home to an estimated three million Zimbabweans who frequently travel back
and forth between the two countries.

Despite this mounting humanitarian disaster, engagement among vital
government, private sector, donor and non-governmental (NGO) stakeholders is

NGOs involved in HIV-related work are doing little or nothing to
address the TB problem.

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Chefs tight-lipped on deported kids

Zim Standard

  By Vusumuzi Sifile

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono last week refused to
comment on the fate of his three children who had their student visas
revoked and were subsequently deported from Australia three weeks ago,
saying he "would never, never" discuss his children's whereabouts.

On 17 August, the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander
Downer announced he had initiated steps to revoke student visas held by
eight children of senior figures in the Zimbabwean government.

Downer did not reveal any names and officials at the Australian
Embassy in Harare refused identify the children by name.

But reports said among those to be deported were Gono's three
children, twins Pride and Praise, and their brother Passion; Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri's son, Sylvester; Rural Housing and Social
Amenities Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa's son, Emmerson; Tendai Nguni - son
of Economic Planning Minister Sylvester Nguni; Kudzai Muchena, son of
Science and Technology Development Minister Olivia Muchena; Thelma Chombo,
daughter to Local Government and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo;
and Taona Karimanzira, son of Harare Metropolitan Governor David

Last week, The Standard called up Gono to establish if his children
were now in Zimbabwe, and what he would do following their deportation.

Among other questions, The Standard wanted to know if Gono would move
his children to a friendly country, such as Malaysia, or whether he would
enrol them at local institutions.

"I would never, never tell you where my kids are. Would you do that
yourself with your own children?" asked Gono. The governor hinted the issue
was stressing him, when he said: "Let us not make money out of other people's
miseries or pains".

Attempts to talk to Chihuri failed as he was said to be attending
meetings. But a man who identified himself as Chihuri's personal assistant
advised The Standard to "call the Australian Authorities".

"He is in a meeting right now . . .Why don't you call the Australian
authorities? They are the ones who will give you all those details you want.
But if you are in that situation, would you discuss such issues in the
press?" he asked.

Sources told The Standard Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku's child,
whose name could not be established immediately, was among students to be

Chidyausiku said simply: "I do not talk to the press."

Kudzai Muchena, the Minister of Science and Technology, Olivia Muchena's
son, was reported to be on the list as well.

But in an interview yesterday, Muchena said her son had not been
deported, as he was only studying in Australia on a partner arrangement
between a Malaysian university -Sunway University - where he is enrolled and
the Australian university where he is currently studying.

Economic Planning Minister Sylvester Nguni said he was not aware that
his son Tendai was facing deportation from Australia.

Yesterday, Karimanzira said his son was indeed back in the country,
but had not been deported from Australia. He returned home on his own after
finishing his programme.

Two weeks ago, presidential spokesperson George Charamba told The
Standard they were not moved by the deportations, which he said were part of
an attempt by the Australians to save face on a looming mass exodus of
Zimbabweans from that country. He said the government would soon come up
with a scholarship programme to send students to Malaysia, a scheme similar
to a scholarship arrangement with South Africa's Fort Hare university,
President Robert Mugabe's alma mater

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Price blitz hits minister

Zim Standard

  By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - A restaurant owned by a Cabinet minister was reportedly
shut down in the recent price blitz, for not displaying an operating

The Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Sithembiso Nyoni, owns
Tuckers' Inn restaurant in the city centre.

The Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation reportedly
descended on the restaurant and ordered its closure "for contravening a
number of laws".

According to reliable sources, a livid Nyoni later stormed the Ross
Camp police station to protest at the closure.

"Nyoni arrived at Ross Camp fuming," said a police officer, "demanding
to see the officer Commanding Bulawayo province, Lee Muchemwa, over the

"When she failed to get an audience with the commissioner she started
yelling at the police officers manning the station. She was very angry."

Although repeated efforts to obtain a comment from Nyoni were
fruitless, her son Mengezi who runs the restaurant confirmed it was closed
for not displaying an operating licence.

"We had such a problem," he said, "and the issue was over an operating
licence which was not displayed at the time the taskforce visited the

Bulawayo police spokesperson, David Nyathi said he was not aware of
the incident "since you say Nyoni approached our seniors".

"But police are not selective in the application of their duties," he

Since the blitz began last month, 4 000 businesspeople and company
executives have been arrested for not complying with the price controls.

President Robert Mugabe has said the clampdown, often accompanied by
looting and shortages of basic commodities, would continue until "sanity
prevails" in business.

He recently invoked the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act
barring the public and private sectors from linking prices of goods,
salaries, service charges or school fees to inflation, the exchange rate,
value-added tax or import duty for the next six months.

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ZCTU calls for stayaway

Zim Standard


THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for a two-day
stayaway next week to protest against the recent government freeze on salary
and wage increments.

Addressing a press conference soon after the union's special general
council meeting in Harare yesterday, ZCTU president, Lovemore Matombo said
all workers would stay away from work next week.

He said the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act used to
freeze salaries by President Robert Mugabe, were illegal, unconstitutional
and violated Convention 98 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on
the right to organised and collective bargaining.

"We therefore hereby resolve that, notwithstanding, national action is
on the 19-20 September and it would be in the form of a stayaway," he said.

Apart from the salary freeze, the ZCTU said the government had failed
to address, among other issues, the contents of the 13 September 2006 ZCTU
petition, which called for the indexing of salaries to the Poverty Datum
line (PDL), currently at $8.2 million.

But over 80 percent of the country's workforce earns on average of
about $3 million a month.

"The supplementary budget presented by the Minister of Finance falls
far short of workers' expectations of a tax-free threshold that is linked to
the poverty datum line," said Matombo.

The ZCTU announced it had pulled out of the Tripartite Negotiating
Forum (TNF) until the Presidential Powers had been "clarified" by the

If the government fails to address the ZCTU concerns after the
stayaway, then the labour movement would embark on massive and prolonged

"The stayaway is just a warm-up. Real action is coming. It will take
the form of protests and demonstrations," said Matombo, who was flanked by
his secretary general, Wellington Chibebe.

The proposed ZCTU stayaway coincides with industrial action announced
by teachers last week.

The teachers are demanding a salary of $15 million, $5.2 million for
transport and $3 million housing allowances.

Currently, the lowest paid teacher gets just above $1.6 million a
month as well as transport and housing allowances of $1 076 275 and $300 000

Last week, Mugabe invoked the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures)
Act to freeze all wage and salary increments.

The law allows the president to make legislation - lasting six
months - without going to Parliament.

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Zim rated worst in economic freedom

Zim Standard


EMBATTLED Zimbabwe, reeling under a seven-year-old economic crisis has
been rated as the country with the least economic freedom in the world,
according to a report by an independent research organisation.

The report, Economic Freedom of the World: 2007 Annual Report, was
prepared by the Fraser Institute.

It places Zimbabwe at the anchor of the table in the 141 countries
used in the survey with a rating of 2.9 out of a possible 10.

Other countries in the bottom of the table include Myanmar (formerly
Burma) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Zimbabwe's neighbours Botswana and South Africa were better placed on
the ranking at 38 and 60 respectively.

At the summit of the table is Hong Kong followed by Singapore and New

The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary
exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property.

The report comes at a time the Zimbabwe government is tabling a bill
that would allow it to have 51% ownership in all foreign-owned companies
operating in Zimbabwe.

Analysts say the proposed legislation is not conducive to investor

The annual peer-reviewed report uses 42 different measures to create
an index ranking countries around the world, based on policies that
encourage economic freedom.

Research shows that individuals living in countries with high levels
of economic freedom enjoy higher levels of prosperity, greater individual
freedoms, and longer life spans.

"These measures are part of a fundamental base needed to build a free
and prosperous nation. A quick glance at the names of countries scoring
lowest on the index quickly shows that without protection of property rights
and judicial independence, there is little individual freedom and little in
the way of prosperity," said Fred McMahon, The Fraser Institute's Director
of Trade and Globalisation Studies.

Commenting on the report, James Gwartney, lead author said "weakness
in the rule of law and property rights is particularly pronounced in
sub-Saharan Africa, in many parts of the Middle East, and for several
nations that were part of the former Soviet bloc although some of these
nations have shown improvement".

He said: "Many Latin American and Southeast Asian nations also score
poorly for rule of law and property rights. The nations that rank poorly in
this category also tend to score poorly in the trade and regulation
categories, even though several have reasonably-sized governments and sound

The annual report is published in conjunction with the Economic
Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes
in over 70 nations.

Economic experts say the situation in Zimbabwe vindicates the rating.

"We (Zimbabwe) deserve to be at the bottom of the list," said John
Robertson, an independent economic analyst, "as there is an increasing level
of attack on property rights".

Robertson said: "After the acquisition of agricultural land, the
government is now demanding 51% shares in foreign companies which is another
attack on property rights."

Robertson said the country needed to restore property rights to
entertain any chances of occupying a better place on the ranking.

"Unfortunately none of the government policies seem to be in that
direction," he said.

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National Incomes and Pricing Commission toothless: Zembe

Zim Standard

  by Jennifer Dube

THE operations of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC)
are unlikely to yield any positive results as it remains susceptible to
government influence, an analyst said last week.

Commenting on the 2007 supplementary budget, Zimbabwe National Chamber
of Commerce immediate past president and business analyst Luxon Zembe, has
expressed pessimism over the effectiveness of the NIPC.

Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi announced in his budget after the
July price blitz, it was time to return to normalcy through the
"operationalisation" of the NIPC.

"It will still be ineffective because it will only be used as a
control regime, instead of assuming the duties of a technical professional
body," said Zembe.

"They are still going to control the commission and that is very
unfortunate as it will not do us any good."

Mumbengegwi accused the business community of trying to advance
"regime change" through incessantly increasing prices in the first half of
the year.

He said it was ironic that the price hikes were coming at the back of
the signing of three protocols under the social contract.

These obliged the three social partners - business, labour and
government - to work together towards stabilising the economy.

This, he said, necessitated government's intervention in price
monitoring and stabilisation.

Zembe said Mumbengegwi's remarks were an insult to business who he
said have always been committed to the successful implementation of the
social contract.

"Those were political statements and it is very unfortunate for a
minister to unnecessarily bring in political statements the way he did.

"I heard him talk of a real social contract and I do not know where he
got that from as we, as business, have always thought we were all working
towards one social contract. Business have sacrificed so much for the social
contract. We have even made very useful submissions under the social
contract, only to have government dismiss them", he said.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya would
not comment on the issue or the budget as a whole on Friday morning.

"We are still studying the statement and we will issue our comment
later in the day," he said.

Zembe said the whole budget was largely a disappointment, save for
"just two positives" - the increase in threshold for PAYE from $1,5million
to $4 million and the final devaluation of the currency.

But he said it would have been more beneficial if the tax threshold
were to be revised to at least $8million

He noted that despite the devaluation, there was still a wide gap
between the official and the parallel market exchange rates.

He said through increasing taxes, the minister increased the cost of
doing business. He criticised Mumbengegwi for limiting his focus on taxing
people while failing to provide measures to stimulate the economy.

"It is not an economic budget. It is a consumption budget, an
inflationary budget. It fails to adequately address such issues as
infrastructure and balance of payment support.

"There are no measures to arrest inflation or to stimulate a
competitive investment environment with both local and foreign investors."

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The budget: workers unimpressed

Zim Standard


FINANCE minister Samuel Mumbengegwi could have attempted to bring
smiles to workers' faces by reviewing the tax free threshold but analysts
warned such measures were too little to appease the overtaxed labour force.

Announcing the $37.1 trillion Supplementary Budget, Mumbengegwi
adjusted the tax free threshold to $4 million per month effective 1
September 2007.

He also widened the tax bands to end at $70 million, above which
income is taxed 47.5%.

"The consequence of this measure is that a significant number of
taxpayers will be released from the tax net and disposable income will be
enhanced, thereby availing more resources to meet taxpayers' needs," he

But the labour movement said the review was "too little and a
violation of the Incomes and Prices Stabilisation protocol" signed by the
Social Contract partners - government, labour and employers - at the
beginning of the year.

"The government has violated the protocol and it is negotiating in bad
faith," said Wellington Chibebe, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary

He said the protocol stipulated that the tax issue be determined by
figures based on the poverty datumn line. The protocol says wages and
salaries should be linked to the Consumer Price Index on a monthly basis, he
said, adding workers were overtaxed, as it was.

"If you add NSSA, Aids Levy, Valued Added Tax, you will realise that
workers are taxed for 70%," he said.

Economic analysts warned last week that such a review, though giving
relief to workers, was inflationary.

"If people have more to spend but nothing to buy," said John
Robertson, an independent economic analyst, "it will end up in the black

Mumbengegwi devalued the Zimbabwean dollar to $30 000 to the US dollar
in a futile attempt to lure foreign currency onto the formal market.

Analysts were unanimous that the devaluation was nowhere near the
black market rates which peaked $250 000 to the US$ on Friday.

"Although it is a good move, it falls short of the parallel market
rates," said economic consultant Dr Daniel Ndlela.

"No-one can devalue to the market rate without a back-up of foreign
currency," he said.

Ndlela said the removal of multiple exchange rates was a step in the
right direction as it removed "all sorts of very controversial and corrupt
rates which were a rent-seeking platform by the privileged few".

Mumbengegwi, retrieved from the political recycled bin last year
before being elevated to the exchequer in a mini-reshuffle, was singing from
his principal's song sheet, analysts said, citing his reference to "regime

He conveniently ignored the problems facing industries: the foreign
currency and raw material shortages that have reduced capacity utilisation
in the manufacturing industry.

In its report for 2006, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said
capacity had declined to 33.8 percent.

Mumbengegwi, jittery through- out his presentation, blamed sanctions
for the country's economic woes.

Robertson disagrees: "I believe the government is desperate to find
someone to blame for their problems."

He said Zimbabwe had failed to access lines of credit due to "a long
history for failing to pay what we have already borrowed".

Mumbengegwi said line ministries, departments and grant-aided
institutions had besieged the treasury for more funds in order to meet their
operational expenses.

"These additional expenditure submissions now stand at over $255
trillion. This level of Supplementary Budget bids is beyond our domestic
financing capacity," he said.

Mumbengegwi said the $37.1 trillion Supplementary Budget "will
maintain operations and service delivery for the remaining four months of
the year and allow for continuation of development projects.

Tapiwa Mashakada, MDC shadow Finance Minister dismissed Mumbengegwi's
Supplementary Budget as "hypocrisy and paradoxical at its best".

He said it was ironical that while the government was allowing a
freeze on all salaries, it was coming to Parliament for additional funding.

Mashakada said the Minister of Justice had to speed up the Public
Finance Management bill to rein in spending.

For the ordinary workers the tax relief was something of a pyrrhic
victory as the government announced a 20% increase in the price of all goods
and services.

"We will not enjoy the benefits because the prices of goods will go
up," said Joachim Munda, a shop floor attendant in the central business

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Consumers incited price blitz: Mpofu

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - The Minister of Industry and International Trade says the
government has no apology to make for the recent controversial price blitz
which has left many businesses teetering on the brink of collapse.

Recently, the government was forced to make a humiliating policy
U-turn after realising the disastrous consequences of its measures on the

Manufacturers and retailers were ordered to roll back by 50% prices to
what they were before 18 June.

The edict, opposed even within the hierarchy of the ruling party, has
spawned such severe shortages of basic commodities that schools, which
opened on Tuesday, are likely to face difficulties sourcing basics for use.

A number of companies face closure after recording huge losses during
the clampdown, characterised by massive looting, some of it by police
officers assigned to monitor compliance with the measures.

This has fuelled mounting calls for the minister, Obert Mpofu, to
resign. He is the chairman of the cabinet taskforce on Price Monitoring and

But Mpofu said yesterday the government only intervened after being
prodded by consumers who were furious with the lightning rate of price

"A few months back people were crying that government was not doing
anything," he said. "Something is now being done and you are saying the
government is being heavy-handed. What do you want us to do?"

Mpofu said the government would not ease up on the price controls, as
they wished to deal a "crushing blow" to unscrupulous businesspeople who
were hurting ordinary people through "unjustifiable" price hikes.

He said recent government concessions allowing businesses to increase
prices did not represent a policy shift.

"We never said we are freezing prices," Mpofu said. "We said we will
be looking at the cost build-ups and permit increases if they were necessary
and that is what is happening," he said.

The price cuts have reportedly eroded government revenue, reducing
income from Value Added Tax (VAT) by 90%.

The government said it was forced to control prices because
businesspeople were working with its Western enemies to effect regime
change, a charge denied by the captains of industry and commerce.

President Robert Mugabe's inner circle, including security chiefs,
reportedly pushed for the exercise, stiffly resisted by a number of senior
politicians and other officials, including Vice-President Joice Mujuru and
Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono.

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An institution crying out for  vision, leadership

Zim Standard


RECENT decisions by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) are clearly at
odds with the type of visionary leadership expected from the oldest
institution of higher learning in the country.

Last week the UZ announced it would not be admitting students into
several halls of residence for the new academic year that opens tomorrow (10
September 2007).

The university said it was following recommendations from the City of
Harare Department of Health Services that the accommodation facilities were
unsuitable for habitation as they lacked proper ablution and catering

Thousands of students find themselves in a quandary, through no fault
of their own. Most of them come from areas outside Harare and will be
hard-pressed to find alternative accommodation at such short notice. There
is an acute shortage of accommodation in Harare and most rentals would be
unaffordable for most students whose families are struggling to put them
through university.

Harare's Department of Health Services declared the buildings
uninhabitable and closed all halls of residence with effect from 10 August.
Some of the residences were damaged following student unrest which also
resulted in extensive damage to motor vehicles.

But the administration knew when the first semester would start and
had enough time to undertake repairs and renovations ahead of the arrival of
students on the campus. All that was needed was leadership and critical
assessment of available options in the interests of the students. Instead,
the administration chose to do nothing.

The decision is inimical to the welfare of students from the affected
halls of residence. The UZ is effectively punishing them, even though they
have not been found guilty of anything.

In early July police evicted 4 000 students from the university after
violent clashes. The students were given 30 minutes to leave their halls of

The protests occurred after the university charged students extra fees
because the term was extended following a strike by lecturers. Students
argued that it was not their fault that lecturers had gone on strike and
that they should not be penalised for something that was not of their

One observation is that each year the UZ has a disproportionate claim
to student disturbances than any other university in the country. This is
not because there is more militancy at the Mount Pleasant campus. Rather, it
is a reflection of an administration that is in danger of being out of touch
with students' genuine concerns.

The summary eviction of students - the majority of them without
relatives in the capital - raised doubts whether the administration cared
about the welfare of students.

There are also questions around what the administration really cares
about when apparently its most singular feat appears to be presiding over
the spectacular decline of the infrastructure and human resource base at the

Then there is the UZ's decision to disregard a High Court Order. This
move raised alarm over whether the UZ, like the political establishment, had
decided to situate itself above the law, and the effect of such conduct by
the country's erstwhile most eminent institution of higher learning.

On 13 July Justice Hlatshwayo of the High Court granted an order
directing that the University of Zimbabwe must admit the students it had
wrongfully and unlawfully evicted back into halls of residence, namely New
Complex 2, 3, and 4, Swinton and Car Saunders, starting on 16 July.

Apart from not wishing to comply with Justice Hlatshwayo's order, the
UZ is trying to hide behind the directive from the City's Health Services
Department. When it offered the students places it undertook to accommodate
them. The UZ must meet its side of the bargain.

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When optimism buys you zilch

Zim Standard

  sundayopinion by Bill Saidi

IN the evening, when you and your wife are walking back to your hotel,
after tucking into expensive but delicious pizza, it is downright
humiliating to be asked to lie down flat on your belly in the street.

Depending on your threshold of tolerance, you might decide there and
then to leave the country of your birth for the wild blue yonder.

Some people might call this over-reaction; others might, at a pinch,
propose that this display of cruelty to a man's dignity was the last straw.

Which is what it was for the man who wrote this to me last week:

"Events over the past three months left me with no choice. At the end
of June, I left my position as a branch manager of an insurance company. I
just wanted to concentrate on my business(es); three grocery shops, a
seven-tonne lorry, a minibus and a pick-up.

"As much as my branch manager position gave me a lot of prestige, it
no longer made sense for me to continue earning a salary that could barely
fill (up) a tank of petrol. So I left it all - a good Toyota twin cab truck,
a three-bedroomed house, with a swimming pool in a posh suburb and all the
prestige, to concentrate on my indigenous businesses."

This Zimbabwean is writing from Pretoria: "I am starting work tomorrow
exactly 12 days after having collected my quota work permit at the SA
embassy in Harare. I had to leave Zimbabwe in a huff, maybe I had no choice
or maybe I had a choice but I am just a coward."

He was responding to my piece last week, Up Close and Personal. . .in

For him, the clincher was an encounter with armed men guarding
Munhumutapa building in Harare. In his own words:

"On our way back to the hotel, I decided that as it was past seven, it
was no longer safe for us to use Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and I suggested we use
Samora Machel Avenue and this should be safe for us since there would be
police guarding Munhumutapa building. As we approached Munhumutapa building
the metal button of my jacket accidentally hit against the metal section of
the telephone substation next to the pavement. At that time the armed police
asked my wife. Ambuya, chiyi chamakanda pahwindo? (Lady, what did you just
throw at the window?)"

Here, I am inclined to say "The rest is history". But I suspect some
people will not be content until I give them what others call the "full
Monty" or the whole enchilada. But what followed was almost routine, vintage

After a few exchanges with the soldiers, he ended up lying flat on his
belly, in front of his understandably flabbergasted wife. It was his wife's
comment later to which he thought I ought to pay special attention:

"Shamwari, iwe ne optimism yako! Let's leave the country. You see,
that policeman could just have killed you . . . just like that (snap of the
fingers? and got away with it."

Evidently, it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. The couple had
been contemplating it for some time, as other couples - single men and
women, confirmed old bachelors and middle-aged spinsters and families - have
done since 2000.

Nobody with even a cursory understanding of Zanu PF politics, since
Gukurahundi, could imagine them reacting to this human haemorrhage with
anything other than "Who cares?" or "So what?"

Life in exile has never been a bed of roses, not in the Americas, in
Europe, Asia, Africa or Australasia.

Not everyone who has fled the economic and political squalor of
countries such as Zimbabwe has eventually finished up as a human Zero. The
people who escaped Nazi terror included the German-born Werner von Broun and
Albert Einstein. They became living legends in their adopted country, the

This should not encourage young Zimbabwean nerds or eggheads to flee
to South Africa in the hope that, while there, they might discover a Nobel
Prize-winning chemical that, when secreted into the womb, will ensure no
African child is born with the genes that could turn them into maniacal
dictators - although this might solve a lot of problems for the continent.

Zimbabweans have eventually done well in many fields of human
endeavour, once they have braved the scourge of xenophobia that afflicts
every country in the world.

The South Africans are divided over what status to accord Zimbabweans
escaping what has been called The Mugabe Menace: bona fide refugees or
economic asylum seekers?

So far, Zimbabweans do not enjoy the status of refugees: their country
is not in a state of civil war - well, not physically, anyway - nor has
their president declared publicly everyone who opposes his regime must be
fed to the lions in Gonarezhou.

What he has done, not in so many words, is to indicate, chillingly,
graphically, that opposing Zanu PF too openly can be very costly - at least,
to your health.

You will be starved of food, either with empty supermarket shelves or
the denial of food aid from donors.

Personally, my sympathies lie with both sides - the cowards and the
people of courage who decide to stick it out to the end.

Incidentally, I spent 17 years in another country, before 1980. I have
mixed feelings about my period there. Mostly, I wonder how I survived that

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Lookout Masuku exposes unfair treatment of Zipra forces

Zim Standard

  sundayview by
Judith Todd

WHEN we left the hospital and I took Gift home with me, she was
depressed and quiet.

"I keep thinking of the future," she said. "There I am sitting having
a drink or eating, or watching television with my husband and my children -
and Maeresera."

She went to see Minister Mnangagwa the next day, and complained.
Mnangagwa said he didn't know about it, and called in some white CIO officer
and said the harassment must stop. He told Gift that Lookout's freedom was
unconditional. Maeresera did not appear, as he had promised the next day.
Gift was wonderful: so calm, brave and clever.

Lookout was thinking everything through carefully and, after
consulting with his lawyer Bryant Elliot, during which time he sent Gift and
me out of the room, he showed us, in writing, what must be said if the press
or anyone else asked questions. The statement was about his future. He said
he was looking forward to being with his family; to discovering again what
life was like in Zimbabwe; that he would be continuing his studies; and
planning how he would be able to provide for his family. He was also
thinking about a holiday.

Bryant was as quiet, steady and dependable as ever. After he left, we
were saying how blessed we were to have him as our lawyer. I was startled
when Lookout said: "Bryant is such a brilliant man. It's a pity about his
poor English." Then I laughed. "No, Lookout," I said. "That's not poor
English. That's a Scots accent."

It was marvellous that at least Lookout knew he wouldn't be going back
to Chikurubi. Prisons came and dumped his belongings in the ward in a bag
and two cardboard boxes. He wanted everything fumigated.

Lookout gave me copies of two letters to look after for him. They were
both addressed to the Prime Minister, The Hon RG Mugabe, in his capacity as
Minister of Defence. The first was dated 1 July 1980, less than three months
after Zimbabwe's independence.

RE: Allegations against Zipra

Whilst we appreciate the difficult task our Minister of Defence faces
in moulding a Zimbabwe National Army, we would like to draw the Minister's
attention to the following.

We are aware that a few former Zipra elements have refused to go to
Assembly Points. These few elements have refused to take orders from any
quarter including from the Minister of Home Affairs (Dr Joshua Nkomo). In
compliance with the MOD's directive and appreciable spirit of reconciliation
we at one stage managed to apprehend several of these elements and put them
in Khami Prison.

We are still, with full vigour and determination, forging ahead with
this exercise with an objective to obtain peace and tranquility in our
beloved land, and indeed create conditions for civil authority to function
without let or hindrance.

In spite of this determination, it has come to our attention that
Zipra has not been and is not being treated fairly and equally with other
forces. The following examples serve to illustrate our case:

1.The appointments by merit to the Zimbabwe 21st Battalion was
rejected by other comrades because the majority of men recommended to be
officers happened to be former Zipra cadres.

2. Zipra has revealed both to the government and the Joint High
Command (JHC) Headquarters the number of cadres still undergoing training
abroad but our comrades in Zanla have not. We further understand that Zanla
has sent men to train in Libya, Romania and Yugoslavia without the knowledge
of the JHC. The intentions behind such a move puzzle us.

3. Incitement of the population against Zipra and its Command by some
political leaders and slogans such as "Pasi ne Zipra" cannot make our
determined effort to build one army any easier.

4. Radio broadcasts give an impression that our full and well known
participation in the struggle to liberate our country is neither appreciated
nor recognised. For example only Zanla and Chimurenga songs are played - a
development which affects cohesion in the army and is indeed out of step
with the spirit of National Reconciliation.

5.The presence of dissidents at Sanyati, Zvimba and Hurungwe has been
blown out of proportion as Zipra acts of organised rebellion while similar
acts by Zanla elements are not talked of. We hereby present a few cases of
unmentioned Zanla dissidents.

a) On 22/06/80 Zanla dissidents at Marenga Business Centre fired two
bullets destroying the fuel tank of the vehicle driven by Sgt Mjr Gava of
Zvimba Police Post in Sinoia.

b) In Chipinga Police are being assaulted by organised groups or gangs
of Zanla, making police patrol duties impossible. This includes an assault
on Inspector De Lange at APX.

c) Zanla shootings at Kachuta TTL on 17/06/80 (ii) shooting at
Murambinda on 18/06/80 (iii) stealing of two (2) watches and $40.00 from a
bus driver in Maranke TTL. Also threats to farmers in Maranke and Fort
Victoria area on 22/06/80.

d) Zanla has been harassing and in some cases burning villages of the
civilian population around Golf and Hotel Assembly camps for their refusal
to provide them with food when they visit their villages. As a result people
in this area are demanding the removal of these camps from this area. The
above few examples involving Zanla units exclude other wide ranging cases of
murder, shooting, kidnapping, abductions and kangaroo courts by Zanla or
Zanu PF cadres which are never mentioned.

6.We, in the Zipra Command, wish to remind the MOD of the fatal
incidences which led to near disaster in Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique
during Zipa. (Zipa, the Zimbabwe People's Army, was launched in 1975/6, an
attempt to unite divided liberation forces which ended in killings and
disaster.) Integration of forces can never succeed if it means the
absorption of one force by another; hence the shortcomings which befell Zipa
should be avoided at all costs.

7.The Zipra Command calls for non-interference by certain politicians
in military affairs. Military affairs are the responsibility of the JHC and
the Prime Minister in his capacity as MOD.

8.The Zipra Command and the highly disciplined Zipra cadres in the
Assembly Points regard peace and co-operation with the government as our
first priority and an indispensable national duty - we sacrificed our lives

9. At present we have specialists in the country whose weapons still
remain in Zambia. We understand the government cannot permit entry of these
weapons. We strongly feel that these weapons can be of better use in the
defence of the state rather than left to wear and tear in Zambia.

10.We have submitted to JHC HQs figures of Zipra personnel training
outside the country but to our surprise those who have completed such
training find it very difficult to return home. They have been made to wait
under frustrating conditions in the country of their training. At the moment
we have 1 600 men in Angola who passed out two months ago and are still
waiting for authorisation to enter the country.

11.On the other hand Zanla cadres have no problems returning into the
country after training, for example the 2 500 recent returnees from

Conclusion: In the light of what we say above, we hereby recommend the
following: a) The MID to inform the nation that the army is his sole
responsibility and that any reprimands or praises are done by him and the
JHC. b) That politicians must leave military matters to military men, if the
process of integration is to move with the desired speed. c) The MOD to
adopt a parental attitude to the army and regard the three former armies as
three children of one family, hence equal status.

D Dabengwa (Zipra Commander)

L Masuku (Zipra Commander)

nExcerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from

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Opposition must learn the language of African politics

Zim Standard

  sundayopinion by
Alex Magaisa

THROUGHOUT the history of time, living things have had to observe an
immutable law of nature, which requires them to adapt to the changing
environment in order to ensure the survival of the species. Likewise,
political organisations must be adaptable to changing national, regional and
international political circumstances. Adaptation is not failure and does
not signal acquiescence - rather, it demonstrates the ability and
willingness to thrive under ever-changing conditions.

Having carefully observed the behaviour and attitude of African
leaders to the situation in Zimbabwe, I am inclined to believe that the
Zimbabwean opposition movement, inclusive of the MDC and its civil society
counterparts, has very limited choices but to be adaptive to the
circumstances of African politics. This applies as much to its strategies as
to its public associations.

Whilst there is a common appreciation of the desperate situation in
Zimbabwe, it is clear that there is divided opinion between Africa and the
West (both loosely defined) regarding the approach to tackle the problem.
The Zimbabwe government has found comfort on the shoulders of its African
counterparts, particularly SADC (Southern African Development Community)
countries. On the other hand, the opposition movement has depended on both
material and moral support from the West. The critical issue, however, is
that for both moral and practical reasons, it is Africa and not the West,
which is better positioned to facilitate changes in Zimbabwe.

The moral restraints that prevent the West from taking active
interventionist measures arise from the bitter historical circumstances of
colonialism. The practical restraints arise from both the contestable
legalities of intervention and more significantly, the recent difficult
experiences of interventionist tactics in countries like Iraq and
Afghanistan. The reluctance to intervene in Darfur epitomises the practical
restraints. So, the practical reality is that outside material support for
the opposition, vocal criticism of the government, the targeted sanctions
regime and similar measures, there is not much that the West is able to do.
The West itself has acknowledged this by pointing to South Africa, alongside
other African countries, as the key external players to influence events in

The political reality, therefore, is that, notwithstanding
protestations regarding apparent support of the African leaders to the
Zimbabwe government, the opposition's greatest task must be to do more to
court, rather than alienate Africa. If we assume, for a moment, that the
African leaders were supportive of the opposition, it is arguable that it
would have had a positive effect on its fortunes. Conversely, that they have
shown more sympathy with the government has meant great difficulties for the
opposition movement. The response, however, is not for the opposition to
adopt a strong-headed stance and make disparaging remarks about the very
people whose assistance it seeks. The critical questions for the opposition
ought to centre on why President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have been so
successful in winning the support of fellow African leaders.

Arguably, Mugabe has successfully managed to mould the opinion of
African leaders because he speaks the language of Africa; a language that is
grounded in the historical circumstances of the continent and its people
via-a-vis the West. His domestic policies may not show it, but he is the
master of the language of the Third World and the imbalance in the global
political and economic order. All this might make little sense to suffering
Zimbabweans on the ground, but these are, nonetheless, important political
questions with which African leaders encounter on a regular basis and,
therefore, shape their approach towards politics in Zimbabwe. In this
regard, an important lesson for the opposition is that politics is not
necessarily rational or logical. Often matters are decided on the basis of
considerations that do not always make sense to those that seek to

In order for the opposition to thrive, the opposition needs to make
itself amiable to the African leadership, which, under the circumstances is,
likely to have greater leverage over the Zimbabwe government. In order to do
so, the opposition must, of necessity, understand and adapt to the nature
and circumstances of African politics.

There are tactics and strategies that may have worked in countries
like Ukraine but events have shown that they do not necessarily work in our
circumstances. The opposition ought to properly manage its alliances and
demonstrate a better understanding of the hurly-burly of international
politics. Cultivating a workable relationship with the African leadership is
essential, whilst retaining its Western links, albeit, in a carefully
managed fashion.

Regular trips to Western capitals might make economic sense, and
public statements could provide international headlines that keep the
opposition in the public eye, but at the end of the day it is important to
assess the practical efficacy of those strategies. What difference do they
make for the people at home? Or do they exacerbate the unhelpful
antagonisms? To what extent do they impact on the perceptions of the African
leaders whose assistance is required for dealing with problems at home?
These are difficult but inescapable questions which the politicians must
deal with in a sober and level-headed manner.

The critical challenge for the opposition in this quest is to debunk
the image that the opposition is no more than an instrument of the West.
African leaders have their grievances against the West, including the
displeasure at having issues being dictated to them, and, once in a while
there emerges a convenient agent they use to express them. In this case,
President Mugabe has become the willing spokesperson and champion of the
African cause. That the opposition has effectively been labelled an imperial
agent, without offering much resistance, has been damaging. It does not
matter if this labelling lacks merit. It builds perceptions, which stick and
influence the Africa's views and attitudes.

Notwithstanding the abundance of domestic support, the opposition's
fortunes lie in careful management of its relationship with Africa. Those
massive votes will count for nothing unless Africa exerts its influence in a
positive way. But Africa is unlikely to do so unless it trusts the
opposition movement and the opposition can earn this trust by developing a
language that echoes Africa's understanding of the situation. It might be
said that this is tantamount to blaming the opposition.

No. It is simply a call for adaptability if the opposition is to make
headway in its relationship with Africa. The opposition must demonstrate a
better understanding of the global political and economic issues that Mugabe
eloquently articulates on behalf of Africa and that they are better able to
speak that language. At times there is a worrying naivety and recklessness
in respect of statements and conduct, which seem to demonstrate a near-fatal
failure to understand the nature and dynamics of global politics, which
partly account for Africa's position in relation to the Zimbabwe government.

The Zimbabwe government understood long back that the key external
players are their African counterparts and that, politically, the West will
always be the convenient scapegoat. African leaders understand this
language. The opposition movement thrived with the material support from the
West, which was critical to building the foundations. It has become clear,
however, that the focus for solutions is now firmly on Africa.

The West itself recognises this and therefore continues to ask South
Africa and its counterparts to do something. The opposition must therefore
adapt to the conditions, to recognise that it needs to cultivate and manage
its relationship with Africa. It does not entail that the opposition must
renounce and castigate the West, as the government appears to have done -
rather it simply means that it must demonstrate that it is capable of and
comfortable when using Africa's convenient language.

After all, in their private domains, the African leaders are quite at
home with the West. But they know how to play the politics in ways that are
convenient to their interests. It might appear an insurmountable task; it
might seem impossible, but there is hardly any choice here. Should they fail
to adapt, the opposition will increasingly find it very hard to survive in
the murky waters of African politics.

Dr Magaisa can be contacted at

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